My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book really deserves more than five stars because it was better than Furies of Calderon. Tavi, our furyless hero from book 1, has moved on to the big city and the Academy. Of course this is danger and intrigue there. Of course, he is hated and bullied for being different. Of course he gathers together a group of loyal friends/accomplicies to take them (and everyone else) on. It is fantasy lit 101. But, in my opinion, it is when you can do all of that and STILL make it irresistible….that’s when you know it is good.
New secrets are revealed in book 2, some you might have suspected already if you read Furies of Calderoncarefully, and some that were straight out of left field. New characters were introduced, some you’re supposed to love, some you’re supposed to love to hate. And, as I’ve learned by listening to the Dresden series, there are seeds planted which will grow in importance over the next few books. Things that seem insignificant/unimportant at first have a habit (sometimes a bad habit) of biting characters (and readers) in the ass four books later.
The action of this book is both physical (with an new breed of Big bad invading on TWO fronts) and political. There are places, of course, where they intersect. If political intrigue fantasy is NOT for you…. you may find yourself disappointed. It isn’t all political intrigue, but it is a large part of the book as well as the overall story. If it bores you, you may find yourself skipping over huge chunks to get to the characters you like/fighting scenes/etc.
Speaking of skipping: I split this book between listening and reading. What is great on audio (Kate Reading is a genius, by the way) can be kind of tiresome on the page. Butcher describes. A lot. It sounds much better when someone is reading it to me. When I’m reading all of that description for myself, my eyes tend to glaze. Yes, even thought I know something of it will likely be important later. It isn’t a criticism or a accolade, just something to be aware of. If you’re a person who gets bored with that kind of detail, you may find your thoughts wandering. In my case, the incredible way Butcher does characters and family dynamics is more than enough to keep me reading his books. Codex Alera series has hooked me in a way that Dresden could not (even though I like those books very much.) This is the new book crack.